Published: 17/05/2020 By Elliott RowlandThe government’s decision to begin unfreezing the property market on Tuesday evening (12th May) brought a collective sigh of relief for all those in the industry.
Whilst online activity has been high, income has largely been frozen for most agents, particularly those in sales. The changes in the government advice means that online activity can now be converted into income, as the pent-up frustrations of house hunters confined to months of lock down have suddenly been released into the property market.
The post lockdown boom which we wrote about a month or so ago is coming into fruition. Those agents who have used their lockdown time wisely should be well placed to take advantage. However, there is still a challenge facing agents, and they don’t just centre around understanding and implementing the logistical challenges of social distancing and hygiene.
The biggest challenge to agents will be to combat the collective fear of the public. At the beginning of May, a number of surveys suggested that the vast majority of people weren’t in favour of coming out of lockdown. With the “stay home” message seriously hitting home for most, this feeling is of fear is unlikely to simply disappear because of a Government announcement.
Whilst officially the public might be able to attend house viewings or have a valuation of their property, the initial burst of excitement to get your property hunt back up and running might be tempered with the realisation that you still can’t visit your parents or allow the grandparents to hug your kids.
Getting the public’s head around the notion that a potential property you want to buy is perfectly safe to visit, but your parent’s house is not, is going to take some clever negotiating. Luckily, that negotiation is all part and parcel of a successful agency, but agents will need to move quickly to reassure the public and put in place the measures needed to adapt to the new normal.
Trust and communication will be key, and just as your website helped you take advantage of lockdown activity, so it will play a key part in advertising your new processes and procedures.
On the evening of the announcement, Webdadi saw a 50% spike in property viewings across its entire platform. This provides a clear indication that the general public is ready to move. However, the announcement was simply the beginning; converting that enthusiasm into offers, deals and completions is going to be the biggest challenge of a longer road ahead.
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